“Women in Maritime and Law Enforcement – Our stories, your opportunities”

WomenMaritimeOn 3 April 2019 at COM-FSM’s MITC, FSM’s Maritime Surveillance Adviser, LCDR Lauren Milburn, Royal Australian Navy, and surveillance staff from the National Police Maritime Wing gave a presentation titled “Women in Maritime and Law Enforcement – Our stories, your opportunities”.

FSM Postmaster General Ginger Mida opened the presentation, which covered themes including the Pacific Patrol Boat program, Maritime Surveillance, and Women, Peace and Security within the FSM.

Accompanying LCDR Milburn were four surveillance officers - Aireen Lebehn, Younaleen Mathew, Fiona Halverson, Natasha Neth, and the Defence Cooperation Program’s administrative officer, Laine Lane.

The surveillance officers shared their work and training experiences in the maritime and law enforcement fields and encouraged more women to join them. Younaleen Mathew was the first female Surveillance Officer to join the Maritime Wing, after graduating from FSM’s Fisheries and Maritime Institute in 2013.

Aireen Lebehn served as an officer of the Kolonia Town Police Force prior to becoming a surveillance officer. Her decision to join the Maritime Wing was based on opportunities to progress her professional development. Since 2015, she has completed a number of courses offered by the Australian Government and US Coastguard, including general management and self-defence training. Aireen recently graduated as the first female to attend and complete the National Fisheries Officer course at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania, Australia. She has also had the opportunity to work at the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) in Honiara, as a member of the operations team in support of regional fisheries operations. Last month, Aireen was the first female shiprider for FSM, embarked in a US Coast Guard patrol vessel.

Rene Edgar from the Department of Justice’s Anti-Human Trafficking division also spoke about the importance of having more women in law enforcement. Rene previously attended FSM’s Fisheries and Maritime Institute and is an Australia Awards Alumnus.

Each woman’s story demonstrates the unique strengths and determination they bring to the Maritime and Law Enforcement domain. Gender inclusion is an important enabler of any professional and capable organization, and this is particularly relevant to the Maritime and Security sectors.

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